Energy storage will be a linchpin in the transition to 100% renewable energy. Whether in the form of utility-scale projects built specifically to provide grid flexibility benefits, deployed for residential and commercial backup systems, or embedded in our electric vehicles, energy storage will be essential to matching supply and demand in a highly electrified world that relies increasingly on variable energy sources like wind and solar.
Given the clear need to dramatically expand our storage capacity as we transition to a fossil-free future, REV2023 tackled the policy environment for energy storage in Vermont with the panel Vermont: Leader or Laggard on Energy Storage? The panel featured Laura Coriell (Delorean Power), Anne Margolis (Vermont Department of Public Service), and Todd Olinsky-Paul (Clean Energy Group) and was moderated by Ben Edgerly Walsh (VPIRG).
Margolis laid out the Department’s current view of storage – one means to support a clean, efficient, and reliable grid – and several ongoing storage initiatives and drivers, including the state’s ongoing effort to create an energy storage rule and the state’s application for a $100 million to support residential, distribution and transmission scale storage.
Olisnsky-Paul pointed out that while Vermont has made a fast start deploying energy storage, its success is largely attributable to Green Mountain Power’s early and fruitful embrace of battery storage. From a policy perspective, Vermont lags behind other New England states in developing storage targets and programs.
Coriell pointed toward what such a policy framework would look like:
- setting storage targets based on peak load or other metrics,
- developing procurement programs that support resilience, renewable integration, and other policy priorities,
- setting performance incentives to ensure storage usage supports policy goals, and
- encourage innovation to support 24/7 renewables, load shifting, resilience, and non-wires alternatives to grid upgrades.
So is Vermont a leader or laggard? The bottom line is that Vermont has done well at deploying energy storage so far but lacks the policies to ensure that we keep pace with the growing need for energy storage or to incentivize storage utilization that supports Vermont’s climate goals.